Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Broder and the Beltway wisdom

-- by Dave

Oliver Willis is appropriately enraged by David Broder's reflexive smear of Democrats as anti-military:
One of the losers in the weekend oratorical marathon was retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who repeatedly invoked the West Point motto of "Duty, Honor, Country," forgetting that few in this particular audience have much experience with, or sympathy for, the military.

Just for the record: There are 117 veterans in the current Congress. Of them, 55 are Democrats, while 64 are Republican (with one independent, Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont). In the Senate, there are 14 Democratic veterans and 17 Republican, while in the House, 41 Democrats are veterans compared to 47 Republicans.

Now, it's true that in raw numbers, Republicans have a slight edge over Democrats. But even this hardly translates to the utter alienation from the military that Broder depicts.

But it's also notable how many more Republican veterans' service comes under reserve or Guard duty, while Democrats more often served in the ranks of the regular armed forces. Perhaps more tellingly: Democrats outnumber Republicans in the ranks of actual combat veterans 14-11 (5-4 in the Senate, 9-7 in the House).

Just as tellingly: In the last election, Democrats were the only party to elect Iraq War veterans (and some Vietnam vets as well) as new members of Congress.

But Broder, as Bob Somerby so often reminds us, is one of the elder wise men of Washington who hand down our prescribed narratives for consumption in the national discourse. And one of these narratives is that liberals and Democrats in general hate the military, and the military hates them.

It is, like so much of Beltway wisdom, a sack of senescent smegma.

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